RSF concerned about arrest of opposition journalist
**Updates IFEX alert of 31 March 2000**
(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Karen Mirzuyan, head of the Nagorno-Karabakh delegation in Yerevan, Armenia, RSF expressed concern about the arrest of journalist Vahram Aghajanian by the authorities in Azerbaijan's secessionist enclave. "We call on you to provide an explanation for this arrest as a matter of urgency, and to free the journalist immediately," said Robert Menard, RSF's secretary general.
According to the information collected by RSF, Aghajanian, a journalist with the local daily "Tasnerord Nahang" ("Tenth province"), was arrested on 28 March 2000 in Stepanakert, the main city of Nagorno-Karabakh. His apartment was looted and documents seized. The arrest was part of a massive police operation carried out after a 22 March attack on Arkady Ghukasian, self-proclaimed "president" of the republic (which is disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan). For the moment, no charges have been brought against the journalist, but the martial law in force allows people to be held in custody for up to two weeks.
The journalist is known for taking a critical stand against the self-proclaimed authorities in the province and has already been arrested on several occasions. On 24 March, he jointly wrote a series of reports about the attack on Arkady Ghukasian for an independent organisation based in London, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). He is also a regular contributor to the newspaper "Iravunk" ("The Law"), based in Yerevan and published by the Union of Constitutional Law, an opposition party.